Associated Press

Metal prices closed lower for a second day Thursday on growing uncertainty about the global economy.

Traders were concerned that continuing financial turmoil in Europe could slow economic growth around the world. Those worries were stoked Thursday when the European Union warned that the region could slip into "a deep and prolonged recession" next year.

When growth slows, so does demand for raw materials like copper and palladium, which are used in everything from housing to television sets.

Copper for December delivery fell 6.7 cents, or 2 percent, to close at $3.374 per pound. December palladium dropped $7.05, or 1 percent, to close at $647.80 an ounce. January platinum lost $16.40, or 1 percent, to finish at $1,627.30 an ounce.

In other trading, crop prices also fell for a second day. The slide started Wednesday when the USDA predicted that grain supplies will be larger next year than many analysts had predicted. If growth slows and demand falls for food and crop-based fuels, excess supplies could be even bigger.

Corn for December delivery fell 10.5 cents Tuesday, or 1.6 percent, to settle at $6.455 per bushel. December soybeans dropped 18 cents to $11.675 a bushel. December wheat lost 23 cents, or nearly 4 percent, to finish at $6.20 per bushel.

Gold for December delivery fell $32, or 1.8 percent, to settle at $1,759.60 per ounce. December silver fell 25.5 cents to close at $34.106 an ounce.

Benchmark crude oil rose $2.04, or 2 percent, to end at $97.78 per barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange.

Heating oil rose 5.25 cents to finish at $3.1511 per gallon, gasoline futures lost 0.74 cents to close at $2.6368 per gallon and natural gas fell 0.2 cents to close at $3.747 per 1,000 cubic feet.

Crop prices were also lower on concerns that demand will fall for food and crop-based fuels.

Copyright 2011 The Associated Press.

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